Choosing the Right Type of College Education for You

Flickr user Andreas Komodromos

If you’re looking to advance your career but aren’t sure exactly what you want to do, it can be difficult to decide how to advance it. There are many options for advanced education, including trade schools, bachelor degrees, and graduate degrees. Choosing what kind of education you will pursue is a big decision and will dictate the level of learning you will invest in for the next several years. It will also determine the kind of careers that are open to you from that point on, so before you make the decision, you must think on a few considerations.

Trade Schools

The first thing to consider is what kind of job you’re ultimately interested in achieving. If you’re interested in a trade, such as becoming a welder, electrician, truck driver, or even a major appliance repair person, you may want to explore trade school options. Trade schools provide a quick and practical education where the courses teach students how to perform a job and ensures they are proficient in the skills they need to be successful at their chosen career path. They do not cover the general education that students who pursue four year degrees cover because they are solely focused on the selected trade.

This can be a great education choice for someone who is unsure what to study and doesn’t want to spend four or more years pursuing a degree they might not use. Trade school is a great option for students who are interested in learning a skill they will be able to master and use for the rest of their working life. This is also the preferred route for young adults and parents who have too much going on in their lives to pursue a four year degree, want to avoid student loan debt, but need a reliable income as soon as possible.

Colleges and Universities

With the push for students to pursue higher education of the last decade, the number of students with a four year degree is higher than ever, which is a good thing because studies have found that in only two short years, 65 percent of jobs will require post-secondary education. As the push for college education grows, the push for accessibility to education grows with it. Universities now offer more classes than ever before online, and even entire degrees are available through an online education. In 2018, more than half of all college students work at least a part time job and they need flexible class schedules to attain their degree.

If you are one of the many students who works a part time or full time job while pursuing a degree, or if you have other obligations, such as a family or children to take care of, there’s even more to consider. Online classes may be an excellent option for you, as you may not have time to be physically present in a classroom, and online classes can eliminate your need to commute from home to school. Another decision is whether you will attend a community college or a larger, more traditional university. Cost can be a large factor here, as community colleges often offer degrees that are much more affordable than that of a standard university. However, universities often carry more reputation and credibility, which is something to take into consideration when you are choosing your college.

Advanced Degrees

For those individuals who already have a four year degree and feel that they might have cut their education short early on, advanced degrees are always available to come back to. It can be a little difficult to get back into the flow of things, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve been in school. However, with a strong support group and some tips for pursuing a graduate degree after years away from school, it is something that can certainly be accomplished. Although it is a large investment of time, money, and energy, it comes with a large reward as well.

Graduate degrees can open many doors and can help with an individual’s self fulfillment when they are given the chance to pursue a greater challenge than they have been previously accustomed to. Graduate degrees require a full commitment, so it’s crucial to be certain that you are willing to invest in your education at such a high level. Consider the changes it will bring to your life and mentally prepare to handle them.

Although it will be a challenge, it’s important for people to feel satisfied with what they are accomplishing in their lives, whether that be a career achieved through a graduate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a trade school. Everyone is different and the education path that works for one person may not be the same one that works for another. Think long and hard about it, but ultimately, pursue the education that will bring you happiness.

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Devin Morrissey

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